Automakers like Renault, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda will be able to transport their cars in bulk across the country by using coastal shipping.
The Ministry of Shipping said, "The car carrier has circuit of Ennore-Cochin-Kandla-Cochin-Ennore, connecting the automobile production hubs in Tamil Nadu in the East coast and Gujarat and Haryana in the West of India. The ship has 13 decks with the capacity to carry 4,300 cars."
Vehicles carrier Dresden - Image courtesy: Jan van der Pluijm
The development assumes significance as movement of automobiles for internal consumption in India is dominated by huge car carrier trucks plying on congested roads.
The 177m-long Dresden, which has obtained licence for coastal run between the ports in India, is a foreign carrier of Cyprus registration.
The operator of the Car Carrier is SICAL Logistics based in Chennai, which is a leading player in bulk operations in many ports and operates a Coal Terminal at Ennore.
The Car Carriers, which are Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) ships, are highly productive with automobiles being driven in and out of the ship.
"The operator will be carrying the vehicles of Renault, Ford, Hyundai and Toyota from Tamil Nadu and Honda and Ford from Gujarat. The operator is also targeting Maruti. The Steamer Agent of the Car Carrier at Cochin is Neo Logistics," the statement said.
Keeping in view the requirements of highly clean surroundings and storage area for car handling, Cochin Port has identified Q7 berth at Ernakulam Wharf for handling the ship, and a clean yard of 4,000 Sq metre area at Q7 is allotted for storage of cars until delivery to the dealers, which is normally expected in a week's time, it said.
"Car handling is highly prestigious, and at adequate volumes could be a steady source of income of about Rs 3 to 6 crores per annum to the port in addition to the significant contribution in environmental safety by eliminating thousands of trucks from the road and the resultant emission savings," the statement said.
Kerala is a major consumption centre of cars with annual sales of about 1,50,000 to 1,80,000 units.
"The potential coastal transport market segment could be strong; 50 ship calls a year with 1,000 cars per call will be required if 30 per cent of the Kerala market shifts to the coastal transport mode," the statement said.
The prospect of Cochin Port attracting coastal movement of cars is strong with major automobile manufacturers moving cars to dealers in Kerala from factories in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Haryana, it said.
The new business is the culmination of sustained efforts of Cochin Port. The Port has offered rebates in Port charges in advance towards attracting the business; concessional Wharfage of Rs 500 per Car and Rs 900 per Truck, and 50 per cent rebate in the notified Vessel Related Charges.
Source: Times of India